Youth play a game at an Internet cafe in Bir al-Abed, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The notorious bumper-to-bumper traffic in Haret Hreik has suddenly vanished.The wave of car bombings and suicide attacks that targeted Hezbollah's stronghold in this area recently has apparently left its mark on the southern suburb's residents and businesses, resulting in a bitter choice for many: Either relocate or stand fast in the face of threats to their lives posed by Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups that have vowed to strike deep in Hezbollah-controlled areas in retaliation for the party's military intervention in Syria. Tuesday marked one week since the suspected suicide bombing struck the once-bustling Al-Arid Street, in the latest attack claimed by an Al-Qaeda-linked group.Residents in the predominantly-Shiite southern suburbs are haunted by security fears following four car bombings, including suicide attacks, that have rattled the area since July, killing nearly 40 people, in addition to a twin suicide explosion targeting the Iranian Embassy in Beirut that killed 30 people and wounded over 150 .The people are panicked," said Amin Najdah, the owner of a money change shop in Haret Hreik.He said his business had dropped by 60 percent since the area was rocked by car bombings. Mousa Raad, the owner of a spice shop in Haret Hreik, said his business had fallen by 40 percent since the Syria-related violence spread to the southern suburbs.
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